Palestinians Ease Truce Terms as Livni Airs New Peace Bid

Image: Getty Images

Conflicting reports from the Egyptian-Palestinian negotiations in Cairo: The Israeli news site Mako-News10 reported Saturday evening that the factions comprising the Palestinian cease-fire negotiating team — the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and Islamic Jihad — had made some significant concessions on their demands for renewing the Gaza cease-fire. They agreed to permit Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority forces take over the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing from Gaza into Egypt, something Hamas had flatly opposed until now. And they agreed to defer to a later date discussion of the Hamas demand for a seaport in Gaza. The report is based on a “Palestinian source close to the negotiations” who was quoted by Agence France Presse.

On the other hand, the Jerusalem Post reported early Sunday morning local time that the Palestinian negotiators were preparing to leave Cairo and would not negotiate further unless Israel agreed to return to the talks. Israel has insisted it won’t return to the talks unless rocket fire from Gaza is halted.

The Post’s full account doesn’t quite match its headline and lead. The threat to quit Cairo turns out to be Hamas’s chief negotiator, Cairo-based deputy political secretary Moussa Abu Marzouk, saying that the three Palestinian factions would make their decision after consulting with each other on Sunday morning. Several Hamas officials, some in Cairo, some not, are quoted as threatening to leave Cairo and resume full-scale attacks on Israel unless their demands are met. Also quoted is the chairman of the joint Palestinian delegation, Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmed, who said flatly on Friday that the Palestinians would not leave Cairo until an agreement is reached. At the very end the Post story reports the factions’ concessions on Rafah and the seaport.

In Jerusalem, meanwhile, Israeli justice minister Tzipi Livni on Friday gave Prime Minister Netanyahu a draft of a proposal she plans to submit to the security cabinet this coming week to end the conflict in Gaza and resume peace talks with the Palestinian Authority. (Details at News1 in Hebrew and Jerusalem Post in English.)

The plan, first reported by political commentator Sima Kadmon in Friday’s Yediot Ahronot weekend supplement (print only), includes a staged series of confidence-building steps, beginning with humanitarian relief to Gaza residents, followed by reconstruction, establishment of full Palestinian Authority control over Gaza and finally a resumption of diplomatic peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Kadmon reported that Netanyahu neither accepted nor rejected the plan when Livni first described it to him earlier in the week.

Livni’s plan would likely threaten Netanyahu’s coalition. Right-wing members reject a diplomatic agreement with the Palestinian Authority and are pushing for Israel to topple Hamas and take over Gaza itself.

Here’s how the Jerusalem Post described the Livni plan’s main elements:

Israel has refused to return to the negotiations unless rocket fire from Gaza into Israel was halted. The rocket fire ceased when last week’s 72-hour cease-fire commenced Tuesday morning at 8 a.m., but resumed when the cease-fire ran out Friday morning. The Palestinian negotiators had refused to renew the truce for another 72 hours unless their demands were met, including open borders, a seaport, an airport, release of security prisoners and access for Gaza residents to the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.

Written by

J.J. Goldberg

J.J. Goldberg

Jonathan Jeremy “J.J.” Goldberg is editor-at-large of the Forward, where he served as editor in chief for seven years (2000-2007).

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Palestinians Ease Truce Terms as Livni Airs New Peace Bid

Thank you!

This article has been sent!